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  • RowLA
  • 629 Alta Avenue
  • Santa Monica, CA 90402
  • 310-650-6290

Program Description

RowLA was established in 2009 as a 501 (c)(3) to engage first generation, low-income girls from underserved communities in the Los Angeles area, offering them intensive rowing activities and competitive skill training, introducing them to life-long health and fitness behaviors and providing academic tutoring and college counseling. Its mission is to encourage young women to become student-inathletes, confident in their abilities to make wise choices for themselves and those they affect. RowLA received the prestigious 2012 US Rowing Anita DeFrantz award for promoting diversity in the sport. Currently, RowLA graduates are attending Smith College, Connecticut College, Loyola Marymount and CalState Long Beach all with full or extremely generous financial aid.

In February 2014, RowLA, with a special grant from US Rowing, will conduct a co-ed pilot PE unit at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, CA, to introduce the sport of rowing to 360 seventh graders. The week-long program is modeled after the successful Row To the Future program sponsored by the Seattle-based George Pocock Rowing Foundation, which is now in its fifth year reaching well over 10,000 students per year in more than 19 Seattle public schools. RowLA will bring in 16 rowing machines and Lincoln's PE staff will be assisted by NCAA collegiate rowers and US and World Cup medalists. At the end of the week there will be mini timed competitions. Students will be given a list of local rowing programs where they can pursue rowing as an activity through high school, college and beyond. RowLA hopes to bring the one-week program to the two other Santa Monica public middle schools, John Adams and Malibu, as well as to those in Los Angeles Unified and other neighboring school districts.

Success Stories

Michelle Costanaza was accepted Early Decision by Connecticut College (NCAA Division III) and has been selected to be part of the Connecticut College Science Leaders Program, a program developed to increase the number of women and minority students graduating from the College with a degree and research experience in the sciences. The program, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, prepares students for a wide range of science-related careers and provides a solid foundation for graduate study or medical school. The summer before entering Connecticut, Michelle participated in the very competitive Eve and Gene Black Medical Career Summer Program at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles where she shadowed several medical professionals in the pediatric field. Penelope Gallardo received grants and scholarships that will cover her tuition and board at California State University, Long Beach. One of RowLA's top rowers, Penelope recently represented RowLA in the squad's first appearance at the Southwest Junior Regional Championships in Sacramento. She has joined the Women's Beach Crew, a strong collegiate rowing club program in the American Collegiate Rowing Association, and will pursue a degree in business administration and human resources. Teresita Lozano was recruited and accepted by San Diego and Sacramento State Universities (NCAA Division I),Humboldt State University (NCAA Division II) and University of California at Merced. However, due to unexpected family circumstances, she is currently attending Santa Monica College and is on track to transfer to University of California in two years. She hopes to prepare herself for a career in the health field. Mariana Ugalde was also recruited by two Division I universities, Loyola Marymount University and University of Southern California (currently ranked #1) and chose LMU where she is a coxswain on the Women's varsity crew team. A straight-A student, even though English was not her first language when she entered high school, Mariana hopes to pursue a career in International Relations. Among the grants and scholarships she received was LMU's very selective Social Justice Scholarship. This award is offered to only five entering undocumented freshman who receive a scholarship that covers tuition and board for all four years. Vanessa is a second year student at Smith College in western Massachusetts. She graduated from King Drew Medical Magnet where she participated in several hands-on medical internships during her high school years. Now a biology major, Vanessa has a significant financial aid award and works on campus at the Smith Student Center. Vanessa is a South Central Scholar and last summer was her first summer with the INROADS career development program. She worked at Kaiser in the medical records policy area. and will continue her work with Kaiser during summer of 2014.

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • Career exploration and counseling/internships
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College fairs/campus visits
  • College transition and retention support
  • Community service/service hours
  • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
  • Leadership development
  • Mentoring
  • Parent/family services
  • SAT/ACT and other test preparation


Race & Ethnicity

  • White: 3%
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 5%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 72%
  • African American: 20%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 16
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 0
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically At-risk
  • Academically High-performing
  • Undocumented Students (1)


  • More than 75%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • California State University-Long Beach (1)
  • Connecticut College (1)
  • Loyola Marymount University (1)
  • Santa Monica College (1)
  • Smith College (1)

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 80%